Letter to the Editor: ‘Your Right To Swing Your Fist Ends At My Face’

Los Alamos

In reply to Erica and Gerald,

While having two neurons to rub together is indeed a mathematical improvement on having one or none, those of us graced with the normal billions generally rub them together by doing our homework when making major decisions in areas where we have no expertise. I learned how vaccines work when I was in high school; I will admit it is possible the University of California does not require elementary human biology, and certainly acknowledge that getting anyone of any age to do homework is very difficult.


****ing vaccines, how do they work? In a nutshell!
What vaccines do is spur the immune system to produce antibodies against the pathogen in question. Antibodies work essentially by tagging invading nasties for destruction by the rest of the immune system; they don’t destroy the bug themselves. They confer immunity, as the term is commonly used, by making it vastly easier to stop a pathogen before it’s taken root and had a chance to really set up its population.
This immunity is not like Superman being immune to bullets. It depends wholly on the immune system itself: it isn’t a drug, it’s an education for that system. Vaccinations don’t confer immunity in the sense that they actually make you immune to a disease if:
  • Your immune system is weak. People who are already ill with anything that’s taxing their immune system have lower immunity. This doesn’t have to be cancer or AIDS- the flu will do just fine.  People who are in generally poor health and don’t have the world’s best immune system anymore will have lower immunity. People who are on medications that suppress the immune system- anyone at all with an autoimmune disease, in other words. Newborns who are still nursing and still have relatively undeveloped immune systems of their own. People who can’t be vaccinated for a variety of reasons.  So a whole bunch of people, as it turns out, most of whom are particularly vulnerable to any pathogen at all, let alone really virulent, really infectious bugs.
  • Your vaccine was a long time ago, and you haven’t been exposed to the pathogen since. This is for the same reason that buggy whip manufacturers are now rare: the body has to deal with a massive number of potential infectious agents, and it won’t waste resources continuing to produce large numbers of antibodies against something it hasn’t “seen” in a long time.
  • The pathogen is so prevalent in your environment that you’re exposed to huge amounts of it. This is true for the same reason that occupying a fortified position on high ground won’t actually help you if the invading army shows up in the hundreds of thousands. Even a healthy, prepared immune system CAN be overwhelmed in a real outbreak of a particularly infectious disease. Like measles.

That latter is why we have a concept of “herd immunity”: it’s a rough calculation of how many people have to be infected before having antibodies against the disease in question ceases to mean much for the vaccinated. This operates by an arcane and sinister principle known as “math”, which was invented by the CDC shortly after its founding by Edward Jenner. Since some can’t be vaccinated or won’t actually gain much of any benefit from it for the reasons mentioned above, we’ll always have some people who will fall quickly and easily to exposure- it’s the extra that really pump the numbers.

While I admit to not being so illustrious an authority on human biology as an Italian lawyer or a person saying stuff on the internet (wait, I DO have as much authority as a person saying stuff on the Internet!), people who actually are extremely educated in the subject don’t guard the information as though it were the Philosopher’s stone and it’s relatively easy to go find more, including all the details I didn’t go into and the actual math.

Granted, the CDC is clearly an evil institution in full thrall to an industry whose profit margins on the vast majority of vaccines are razor-thin if not nonexistent and a medical profession whose members enjoy sticking needles in young children even more than chocolate-covered puppies, but people who aren’t afraid to think critically shouldn’t fear exposure to their mind control as long as their tinfoil beanie is firmly in place.

As for freedom of choice, especially over bodily integrity- a concept I AM sympathetic to since it underlies my own philosophy- a very basic corollary is the concept of “your right to swing your fist ends at my face.” You have, or should have, the right to endanger yourself; you don’t have the right to endanger other people. As I’ve outlined above, choosing not to vaccinate very much endangers others, including others’ children and infants. (And grandparents. And in an outbreak, which have come back into vogue along with anti-vaccination propaganda, EVERYONE ELSE.)

People should be legally allowed not to vaccinate. However, they should also be barred from public schools and public hospitals, all of whom have particularly high concentrations of the vulnerable and potential to incubate outbreaks- and every private company or institution should also have the choice to ban them as well. Swing your fists freely: but not where others’ faces are in range. The rights of man do not include a natural right to freeload or do harm to others.

Astoundingly enough, for once law and philosophical liberty alike agree that shaming and cajoling ARE personal freedoms, and indeed social disapprobation is one of the appropriate responses to disgraceful behavior.   

By Jessie Gauntt, Person Saying Stuff On The Internet

P.S. Mooing at cows is tacky. Even the cows think so.

P.P.S. The full text of the research paper detailing what has become known as the “Dunning-Kruger Effect” is available online for $12. Or Google it, it’s not hard to get the gist.